Kukla's Korner

Connolly’s Health Will Influence Sabres Trade Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News,

The NHL trade deadline is one month from Saturday. The Sabres should be looking to get better for a Stanley Cup run. But it won’t be easy for Darcy Regier to deal with potential trade partners while Tim Connolly’s playing status remains up in the air.
The Sabres are still hoping Connolly will recover from his concussion in time for a playoff push. If Connolly doesn’t return, his salary average of $2.9 million won’t count against the cap. So until Regier knows exactly how much wiggle room he has under the cap, his ability to negotiate will be compromised.

continued

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Shanahan’s Suggestion’s Unsafe At Any Speed

Blog: KK Hockey By George Malik

By George James Malik

Competition Committee founder Brendan Shanahan held court before the All-Star Game’s skills competition on Tuesday, and the Human Quote Machine made an interesting comment regarding the league’s crackdown on goaltending equipment:

“The goalies are going to hate me for saying this, but I think we failed a little bit with the goaltenders and streamlining their equipment,” said Shanahan, one of a handful of players on the NHL’s competition committee.
After the lockout, the committee pushed the league to downsize goaltender equipment by about 10 percent. But Shanahan—and others—aren’t so sure the changes had the desired effect.
“So much of the focus was on the width of their pads, and it’s really about the upper body,” Shanahan said. “You want to make sure these guys are protected.
“But I just don’t understand how a cop can walk down the street in a bulletproof vest and look normal, yet our goalies have to look like lacrosse goalies, or Michelin men, to stop a puck.”

 

Continue Reading »

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Turco Has A Future

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Tripp Mickle of Sports Business Journal, blogged at the ASG…

Mike Baker, coordinating producer at Versus, is standing in the tunnel outside the players’ locker room — buzzing. Western Conference goaltender Marty Turco, who was mic’d up for the night, was more candid than any player he’d worked with in 22 years.
“He was utterly unbelievable,” Baker said. “He talked to us the whole third period.”
After having a goal scored on him, Turco said, “Can you guys go celebrate somewhere else.”
He also talked to the truck the entire time. When action approached, Baker said, Turco would say, “Hold on. I’ve got to stop this.”
“You can’t ask for better television,” Baker said. “He’s got a spot reserved in the Versus booth the second he retires.”

check out the blog that was set-up for the ASG…

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OK, You Sold Me

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Houston Chronicle,

As I was saying, the NHL offers a terrific game. Its best players have as many skills as athletes in any sport, including the NBA.
Some years ago, I asked an NHL coach about Mario Lemieux, who was the league’s top star at the time.
“First of all,” he said, “look at him. He’s a tall guy with long arms. He’s deceptively fast. He’s stronger than people think. He knows the game instinctively and has great competitive fires.”
That coach could have been describing Michael Jordan or Ken Griffey Jr. In his prime, Lemieux was as good as either of them….
There’s no loafing in hockey. The rink is too compact, the action too easy to follow. Again, it’s not a sport that translates onto television. The NHL is working hard to improve the way television does hockey, but until everyone has a 54-inch plasma, it may not be a TV sport.
If you like a fast sport, a graceful sport, if you like players who perform with joy and passion, you’ll love the NHL. Here’s hoping the Penguins give us a chance.

more

thanks to a KK reader for the heads-up

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Mellow Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal,

The unbalanced schedule is whacked, the new Reebok uniforms are nothing more than a greedy cash grab, the computerized fan-driven All-Star voting nearly sent journeyman Rory Fitzpatrick down there to Dallas, a sham of a travesty of a mockery of a sham, if ever there was one.
Come to think of it, nobody’s watching the NHL in the U.S. on Vonage or Viacom, or whatever that new network is called. Oh, yes, Versus, that’s it.
Mind you, a lot of those talking are grim, humourless types whose only spasms of happiness seem to come when they’re bashing away at the New York-based NHL front office. Now, commissioner Gary Bettman and his Ave. of the Americas posse need no help from me to defend themselves.
Rather, let this serve as a gentle suggestion to those getting all wound up about the various alleged NHL outrages to sink into the sofa, toss back a little mulled wine and mellow out just a bit.

read on

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Much About Nothing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

The most boring story of the hockey season got a little more boring on Tuesday when, after much anticipation that spectacular, earth-shaking changes were at hand, the NHL once again voted to maintain the status quo.
“It’s been a long walk down a very short trail,” one general manager quipped.
The only new matter of interest was the thick layer of hypocrisy that enveloped the GSD in Dallas, emanating chiefly from western Canada and thinly disguised as protecting the best interests of the game.
What a bunch of prairie baloney.

read on

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Questioning Bettman

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,

This week’s all-star celebration in Dallas is a perfect example of how far hockey has to go in America. Strolling around the city, it was hard to believe there was any all-star “celebration” taking place.
When the NHL hired Bettman, it wanted a commissioner who would help grow the game in the States. He wasn’t hired for his hockey expertise because, at the time, he didn’t have any.
That’s why when the board of governors fails—twice—on a resolution to produce a schedule that fans can embrace, you have to question Bettman’s leadership.

more

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Tiger Having a Baby - News To Me

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from William K. Wolfrum of WorldGolf.com,

So it was nice to see that the NHL All-Star Game was outshined by a golf news story about Tiger Woods possibly missing the British Open due to the birth of his first child. Think the British Open would be outshined if Lubomir Visnovsky was debating missing a big game?
It’s a small victory, but when the NHL’s best combine for 21 goals and get shown up by Tiger possibly missing a golf tournament several months from now, I get a warm feeling. I know it’s yet another sign that hockey will be eradicated in my lifetime, taking that nasty-ass equipment with it.

more... Hmmm, this is the first I heard about Tiger missing the Open.  So Mr, Wolfrum, to me, it looks like golf is losing the luster…

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Rangers Act In A Strange Way

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

For one would think that a franchise that reflexively defers to Sandis Ozolinsh (or maybe the deference in this case is paid to agent Paul Theofanous, who curiously has helped himself to a seat beside GM Glen Sather in the Meadowlands press box during each of the Blueshirts’ last two visits to New Jersey) would at least have had the common courtesy to inform Kasparaitis of the decision either directly or through his representative.
But that was not the case. Indeed, Mark Gandler, who represents the 14-year NHL veteran, first learned of the move when contacted by phone by The Post shortly after 1 p.m. yesterday,...

read on

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Wings A Victim Of Their Own Popularity

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Windsor Star,

The Wings’ senior vice-president attended Tuesday’s Board of Governors meeting in Dallas and expressed disappointment over the decision to retain the current schedule for another season.
“There’s no question we’re the victim of our popularity,” Devellano said. “That’s been the case for a number of years now.
“The reason is because we’ve produced excellent clubs year in and year out. We’re the team in the United States in my opinion.
“We’re needed by NBC and Versus and we’re needed to draw in other rinks in the Western Conference. It’s just a fact.”

read on

thanks to a KK reader for the link…

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